Not just Muslims, even Bajrang Dal’s national convener has slammed the songs blamed for the violence. But police say they can’t do too much about them.
New Delhi: Ram ji ke kaam mein taang jo adaayega, maa ki kasam jinda nahi jayega (The one who impedes the work of Ram will not go alive, I swear on my mother’s life).
Ram Lalla hum jayenge, mandir wahin banayenge, door hato Allah walon, janmabhoomi ko ghera hai, masjid kahin aur banao tum, ye Ram Lalla ka dera hai (Child Ram, we’ll go and build the temple there itself… Scram, men of Allah! The birthplace has been surrounded. Make your mosque somewhere else, this is Ram Lalla’s establishment).
Jis din jaag utha Hindutva, anjam bolega, topi wala bhi sar jhukae Hindustan bolega, topi wala bhi bolega, jai shree Ram, jai shree ram (The day Hindutva awakes, the end result will speak. The man in the cap will say ‘Hindustan’ with a bowed head. The man in the cap will also say ‘jai shree Ram, jai shree Ram’).
Pakistan mein bhi bhagwa lehrayega, tu kya tera baap bhi Ram naam chillayega (The saffron flag will fly in Pakistan too, you and your father will scream the name of Ram).
One would think that such communally incendiary lines would probably be bandied about at a private meeting of Right-wing radicals to whip up passions and rally the faithful. Turns out these are actually lyrics of songs mixed to the latest electronic beats and played by DJs at street corners and put up on YouTube where they draw millions of views.
And they are obviously not harmless.
Police officers in Bihar and West Bengal are blaming these songs for contributing to the communal violence witnessed around Ram Navami last month.
What’s worse, some officers admit that these songs are difficult to police, since they are easily available to download on the internet, and if one site is blocked, people always come up with new links.
“This is a new trend we have observed in the last one year,” said Sudhir Kumar Podika, SP, Nalanda, Bihar, one of the districts affected by the tensions at the end of March. “During the procession, the DJ stops at a specified location and plays instigating music.”
Police said the trend picked up pace during the Saraswati Pooja celebrations on 22 January.
“Pooja pandals were established in areas which have a high population of minorities, and the music played had religious overtones,” said a senior police officer in Patna. “Upon getting information, we checked it and enough measures were taken to ensure nothing of that sort takes place again.”
However, the trend only grew and became a menace during Ram Navami.
Administration’s meek response
There has been widespread criticism of these communal songs, and not all of it has come from the Muslim community.
Manoj Verma, national convener of Bajrang Dal, said: “We strongly condemn playing of such songs during Ram Navami processions. A number of times, we have stopped the use of songs which could hurt sentiments of other communities. But Hindu society is huge, and it is difficult to control each and every individual.”
Meanwhile, Maulana Anisur Rehman Quasmi, nazim of Imarat Sharia, Phulwari Sharif, Patna, blamed the administration for not doing enough to stop the broadcast of these songs.
“I have information that the plan to play these songs during the processions was formulated three months in advance, with the sole purpose of spreading communal hatred. We used to hear such songs at certain paan shops before too, but not at the scale which happened during Ram Navami,” he said.
“In fact people come and tell me that at some places, they are still playing these songs. Only the government can control these things. We had earlier informed the local intelligence units about these songs and requested them to keep a track. They claim that they had passed on the information to senior officers. I don’t know why this was not checked before.”
Asked about the Maulana’s criticism of the administration, Aurangabad SP Satya Prakash, who also had his hands full in controlling frayed communal tempers, said: “People didn’t play these songs when we were there. They only played it when the police were at a distance, in localities dominated by the minority community. We acted against different people and stopped the playing of such songs.”
Podika, the Nalanda SP, added: “As a precautionary measure, we had checked all the songs to be played by the DJs and allowed only those which had no communal tone. This helped us in minimising the clashes as compared to other places in the state.”
The artistes behind these songs are unperturbed by the criticism or the charge that their songs have lit these communal fires. In fact, Lucky DJ, the YouTube channel with 4 lakh followers that’s behind Ram Lalla hum jayenge, mandir wahin banayenge, is brazen about the intent behind the song. Its own video description reads: “Hi-Fi kattar Hindu DJ song jo khoon khaula de” (Hi-Fi extremist Hindu DJ song which can boil the blood).
Laxmi Dubey from Madhya Pradesh, the woman behind Ram ji ke kaam mein taang jo adaayega, also known as Har ghar bhagwa chhaayega, is pleased about the 1.7 million views it has generated, and justified the lyrics.
“I have added that line keeping in mind Ram janmabhoomi,” Dubey told ThePrint over the phone from Bhopal. “The world knows that Ayodhya is the birthplace of Lord Ram, and to build a temple we need permission from the (Supreme) court. This is something which hurts every Hindu, and I have only brought up what the large Hindu society feels through my song.”
Dubey claimed she receives regular threatening calls from different states as well as from Pakistan for singing such songs. “But I am not scared. I respect all the religions and I have a right to sing a song for my religion,” she added.
Similar views are echoed by 26-year-old Vivek Pandey from Ayodhya, who sang Pakistan mein bhi bhagwa lehrayega, tu kya tera baap bhi Ram naam chillayega. He sang this song six months ago, and it has got 4.7 million views.
“I sing what the writer writes, and since I come from Ayodhya, most of the songs are about Lord Ram. Through the song I just express the feeling of people,” said Pandey. “Who are these people who live in India and shout slogans like ‘Bharat murdabad’?”